Even Greater Complications

The big questions torture us
as daylight switches off
a streetlamp bundled inside
a boxwood

so the lightbulb spends hours
anticipating the moment it’ll click back on

A grown man on a trike flies by
and I have the urge to follow
through the town’s promenade
and to the beach maybe

where soccer players collide and
swarm their insect bodies
as if looking for dead things
to eat or live inside of

I’ll plunge my head into sun
like a baptism
There is nothing like it
nothing it is like

Vacationing in the estuary
in the river of ekstasis
the river’s made of stones

I learn the whole
area’s a stone bed
that lifts me uncomfortably
like a barge

Do you buy that it can be so simple?
“It” being being awake
not inside time’s river
but swaddled really

Waiting for something in the plaza
to tell us to turn on or off
we look to one another
as the signal

Gauge ourselves
to see us
in the look of others
in the beams our eyes shoot
and cross during this faux duel

Between us a witness scrambles
in the aftermath
picking through the sand
for evidence
to fill an empty potpourri jar
that collects
its room’s noise

How convoluted and busy
a surface can be
while it claims simplicity
Whatever you do
write as simply as possible
Berkson said Ashbery said
Pasternak said Scriabin said

So complicated they must have felt
some complication beyond

Past the boardwalk
a PA system blares “Laura
party of 4 or 9
I can’t read my handwriting
but we’re ready for you”

And a mother’s hand rests
on her kid’s shoulder
fingers spread across a landscape
of biplanes and
hay balers
which might be her tenderness
or scolding or bracing
for some yet unseen danger

The kid’s not sure
But in trying to understand
has already ruined the gesture

Daniel Moysaenko, a Ukrainian-American poet, is the author of the chapbook New Animal (H_NGM_N Books, 2015). Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in Chicago Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, New American Writing, Pleiades, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a PhD in poetry from Florida State University.